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Kara's  philosophy

Kara is an encouraging and intuitive instructor, whose main teaching goal is to empower her students to reach their highest artistic and personal potential. Kara believes that the singers mind is the most powerful tool they possess, and that understanding how to control and cultivate one's thoughts while performing is key to eradicating tension and to allow for free and organic vocal production. Kara uses her experience as a professional singer to instill real-world knowledge in her lessons, and tailors her teaching methods based on the needs of the individual.

*Kara is currently accepting new students remotely, and in-person in the Geneseo/Rochester/Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York *

Kara welcomes students of any race, color, religion, gender expression and sexuality.

Lesson Details

Appointments are one hour long. Although there are exceptions, Kara suggests that students do not start voice lessons until they are about 14 years old. Kara is flexible with scheduling, but asks that students give at least 24 hours notice if they need to cancel or change an appointment. 


Kara (she/her) has maintained a private voice studio for 20 years with students ranging from total beginners to professional colleagues. Kara first started teaching privately in her native Long Island while earning her masters degree at Stony Brook University. She then moved to upstate New York and maintained a studio in Albany and was a voice instructor in the musical theater department at Russell Sage College from 2007 to 2014. In 2015 Kara relocated to Pittsburgh, and in the summer of 2016 she returned to her alma-mater, Carnegie Mellon University, as a voice teacher in the school of music and school of drama's pre-college program. From 2018-2023, Kara taught during the school year as voice instructor in the music, commercial music, and theater departments at Seton Hill University, and in 2021/2022 was the interim full-time voice instructor in the musical theater department at East Carolina University. in 2023 Kara relocated back to New York State to work as a full-time lecturer in voice in the music and music theatre departments at State University of New York at Geneseo. 


In addition to private lessons, Kara is also often hired to lead masterclasses in vocal and dramatic coachings through organizations like Eastern NY NATS Chapter, The Emma Willard School and Hubbard Hall Opera Conservatory and Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA). On the college level, Kara has been a teaching recitalist at The University of Albany, Skidmore College, University of North Texas, Butler University, and Southwestern University.


Because Kara is well-versed in a wide variety of music, she teaches a wide variety of singers. Kara's students range from teen musical theater and pop lovers to professional opera singers, cabaret performers and singer/songwriters.


Kara also offers Holistic Voice Sessions for students who want to use the vehicle of singing to help them feel more empowered, address outdated belief systems about what it means to sing/perform/take up space, and to reach goals not directly related to performing. Additionally, Kara is currently enrolled in a "Gender Affirming Speech and Singing" course through The Voice Lab in Chicago.  

Testimonials from parents

"My 14yo daughter has benefited from Kara's instruction in just few lessons. The vocal instruction goes beyond just the obvious mechanics of producing a good sound: Kara builds rapport well and is able to recognize, name, and help remedy bad habits or fears the student might have. Her explanations aren't lengthy, but she uses visualizations that are apt, and that stick and are applicable to other vocal pieces. My daughter loves working with Kara Cornell, and us as parents do occasionally - but not always - sit in on a lesson and enjoy the music." - Kate

"She is the best!! She sees the student and works with them. She strives to bring the best out of her students with building confidence and giving them strength and support. I highly recommend if you are looking for lessons this is the place to be." - Lisa

Testimonials from professional musicians

“When I first met Kara in 2006 I was excited to have a vocal coach who was actively performing. Her strong points were her ability to teach me how to understand how music should be interpreted. I found her to be a fine actress. She was the first vocal coach in my career to have the talent and ability to teach how to express emotions through a song; to break it down and understand the meaning of the lyrics. Not only did she work with me on my songs and lyrics but also proved, through the years, her loyalty to my performances by attending my shows. Just seeing her in the audience built my confidence and helped solidify what she had taught me. I was saddened to see her move, but she secured me with a fine vocal instructor when she left Long Island and has kept in touch. I not only found a knowledgeable vocal coach but also made a friend.” - Yvette Malavet-Blum, cabaret performer

"I had the pleasure of working with Kara for several years. She helped me become comfortable with my voice, she helped me to become a better singer and she gave me the confidence to sing! I am forever grateful for her amazing ability to offer insight and encouragement. She's a wonderful person and a fantastic teacher."  - Rob Skane, guitarist and songwriter

"Kara is an amazing teacher. She takes a very holistic approach to the voice, and encourages you to be in touch with not only the physical mechanics of singing, but the emotional processes which inform our interpretations. Within two lessons, she had corrected some longstanding breathing issues, and has helped me become a more expressive singer." - Deirdre M., professional choral singer

Testimonials from remote students

“My daughters have been participating in remote vocal instruction with Kara for approximately six months. In that time, their skill and confidence levels have both flourished! With Kara, I know my girls are guided by her years of expertise, love for music, and commitment to the well being of her students. We have found the vocal coach that cares deeply about the whole student. Kara Cornell has become an essential component of my girls’ artistic development and journey.” - Miranda Virone

"I have been taking lessons with Kara for a year now, and both our in-person and online classes have helped me immensely. The flexibility that comes with remote lessons has truly saved me, especially during busy weeks before auditions. No matter the format, Kara’s lessons have helped me grow as a person and as a singer. She brings the same encouraging atmosphere of her studio right to your room. All I recommend is a quiet space you feel comfortable in!" - Sofia, age 15

"I experienced both in person and remote lessons with Kara [first year of college totally remote] and have nothing but positive comments to make in regards to her teaching. She was a kind, caring, goal oriented teacher that made lessons feel both exciting and beneficial. I always felt prepared for upcoming performances and she was very easy to reach out to. Above all, she genuinely cares about her students personally. She is a wonderful teacher and person, and I highly recommend her to anyone who is searching for someone to rekindle their spark for music." - Bella Murray, college student 

Testimonials from college students

"Kara is a wonderful vocal teacher for many reasons, but what I think sets her apart is that she studies the vocal student to figure out how they work. Within a couple of voice lessons she can figure out if you learn from visuals, from manifesting, etc. She teaches you in the way YOU should do it, not how everyone else should do it. Plus she is a great teacher for students who are vocally injured or limited. She has experience with vocal damage and can teach you a healthier and safer way to sing. In one year my voice has grown so much thanks to Kara." - Kelci

"I took voice lessons with Kara all four years of college and learned so much! She is absolutely amazing. She figures out your potential as an individual and works with you till you get there. She gives you healthy tools to work with that would never strain your voice. In addition to that she has a background in opera/musical theatre so she is fantastic at helping you pick songs which are right for your type and gives great audition advice. I love her and suggest her to anyone who's wants a career in the theatre or just wants to work on their voice!" - Morgan

"Kara Cornell is the most supportive voice teacher I have ever encountered. She helped me find and develop my natural voice, guiding me towards a more pleasing tone without altering or pushing me away from what makes my voice unique. Kara's careful listening let me feel at ease to explore my range without fear of hurting myself. Maybe most importantly, she built my confidence in myself up lesson after lesson." - Kristie

"When I started working with Kara, I thought I already knew how to sing. What I didn’t know was that having the privilege of being one of Kara’s students would teach me to discover the uniqueness of my own voice, and how to vocally challenge my own preconceived limitations. Kara provides her students with the tools to become the masters of their innate instruments. With her immensely diverse knowledge she is able to tailor her teaching to the needs of each student, all whilst instilling in them the importance of tried and true vocal techniques and control. Kara’s energy resonates in every aspect of her being, translating in to an infectious desire to inspire, create, and make art." - Alex

"I studied with Kara my four years of undergrad and she was far more than a voice teacher. Her ability to connect with all of her students on so many different levels set her apart. I grew not only as a singer, but emotionally and professionally in my time studying with her and peeled back layers of my technique and my persona in a safe and productive environment all the while laughing and enjoying myself. She is truly one of a kind and I felt absolutely blessed to have had as much time with her as I did. Now, almost 3 years since my last lesson with her I am living and singing in Italy, and her techniques are a constant in my practice and performance." - Hannah Moss

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